In ‘The Sun is My Only Ally’ by Boutros, the invisible and elusive are made tangible.
Charbel-joseph H. Boutros was born in Lebanon in 1981 and grew up during the Lebanese war. These events are not directly visible in his work, but have a haunting presence. As the title suggests, the artist is fascinated by the elusive and invisible. His artworks take the form of installations that capture, record or indicate these and other imperceptible sensations such as light, obscurity, breathing and sleep.
‘The Sun is My Only Ally’ is an exhibition within an exhibition and includes both recent and new work. The first exhibition pays homage to ‘The Distance between Your Eyes and the Sun’, a presentation that the artist made at the Beirut Art Center in 2019 for Home Works 8, Ashkal Alwan. However, the day after the opening, this exhibition was immediately closed due to the political unrest in the city. Boutros has developed the second exhibition as an envelope of reflections on the periphery of the first. The artist places a Seuil de Confiance at the entrance – a threshold of trust – which gives visitors the key to his world of ideas.
In Charbel-joseph H. Boutros’ eyes, an exhibition can enter into atypical relationships with artworks, projects and the public. A good example of this is ‘Catwalk’ (2019-2020). This is an elevated walkway around the gallery walls that can only be used by the museum staff. As a visitor, you follow a separate route, which results in a remarkable scenography.
The work ‘Dead Drawing’, which can be seen at the start of the exhibition – a pencil shaft resting on two nails in a wall, above which are two lines that have been drawn with the same instrument – now belongs to the S.M.A.K. collection. It has already been shown in the context of the survey exhibition ‘The Collection (1) | Highlights for a Future’.